Marissa Webber, 2018, Civil and Environmental Engineering
I analyzed the potential of sustainable biofuels to replace conventional petroleum within the light-duty vehicle industry. We first reviewed the existing literature and governmental studies done to determine the carbon and energy balances for different sustainable feedstock in the United States. Then, we conducted a scenario analysis to determine what would be a feasible quantity of sustainable feedstock produced in the continental U.S. in 2050, and, therefore, how much petroleum could be displaced by the biofuel that could be made from this sustainable feedstock. While working on this project, I was able to hone my skills in research and analysis and familiarize myself with the study of biomass within sustainable energy. As a large project with many moving parts, this project required more of a systems approach and increased my ability to think about important details without losing sight of the ‘big picture,’ which will undoubtedly be useful in my future research endeavors.